Samsung announced some neat new interactive features–integrated cameras and and microphones–for the company’s 2012 Smart TV line and set off a firestorm of controversy surrounding consumer privacy and security.
Now, in an effort to set the record straight and ease the fears of potential buyers, a Samsung spokesperson emailed hometechtell the following statement:
Samsung takes all concerns regarding consumer privacy and information security very seriously. In all of our Smart TVs, including our new 2012 LED and Plasma TVs featuring built-in camera and microphone components, Samsung employs industry-standard security safeguards and practices (including data encryption) to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent its unauthorized collection or use.
The camera and microphone are integrated into the TV to provide users with innovative new ways to control the TV. They may also be used for video conference and speech-to-text services offered by third parties, in which case the audio and video data is transmitted to the service providers’ servers and does not pass through Samsung servers. Images captured in order to use the facial recognition feature are stored in a secure manner on the owner’s TV only. Should the TV owner choose not to use these features, the camera and microphone can be disabled. Users can check if the camera and microphone are activated from the TV’s settings menu. As an added precaution, the camera can be rotated and tucked into the bezel of the TV. Once tucked away, the camera only captures a black image.
Samsung is dedicated to instilling consumer confidence in this matter.
Most folks, particularly the tech-savvy folks (especially those of us who have Facebook accounts already), should be satisfied by Samsung’s explanation of the new technologies in the Smart TV lineup. These advancements should be viewed as progress and not some devious attempt by “Big Brother” to gain control over the masses. As for whether or not the technology behind all of this brouhaha actually ends up being worth the fuss? Well, that remains to be seen until we get some hands-on time with it.